It seems like Mike Tomlin is enjoying himself during the Steelers preseason. Pittsburgh’s head coach was asked why backup quarterback Mason Rudolph took reps with the starters instead of Ben Roethlisberger. Tomlin answered with considerable sarcasm.
�We just like for you guys to ask questions and we did it for our own enjoyment.�Mike Tomlin
Obviously, that wasn’t the actual reason. In all likelihood, Ben Roethlisberger taking a backseat has to do with preserving him for the regular season. Especially with the schedule expanding to a 17 game stretch, Pittsburgh will need Roethlisberger in peak condition.
The 39-year-old has a history of injuries for his career already. As he ages, the quarterback only becomes more susceptible to it. He will suit up for his team’s next preseason game against the Detroit Lions this weekend. It’ll serve as an opportunity to get in gear before the new season begins and start acclimating himself to Pittburgh’s new offense.
Several starters have missed time this preseason. Despite the NFL decreasing the number of games played, teams and coaches have emphasized preserving their stars for the games that matter most. Mike Tomlin seems to be one of many to adopt that strategy.
Not too long ago, Rams coach Sean McVay stated that he would never play his QB, Matthew Stafford, during the preseason. A large part of that has to do with the preseason not holding value in the following weeks. On top of that, last season went without any exhibition matches, and the product was maintained despite it. This development likely further devalued the use of the preseason to the teams that participate. That said, we could see an increase in starters missing these games in the coming years.
As for Pittsburgh, Mike Tomlin and his Steelers will look to rebound from last season’s end. They will open up their 2021 campaign on the road against the Buffalo Bills.